Nominations for the Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup, formerly the BTC Cup, are now out ahead of the weight-for-age classic on May 27 with the reinvented Eagle Farm clash attracting 64 early entries.
Formerly the first of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival elite level races contested over 1200m, the 2017 edition of the event is known as the $700,000 Group 1 Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup (1300m) and takes place over the increased distance on Saturday May 27.
One of the standout nominees is Brisbane Group 1 winner Music Magnate who also holds a nomination for a title defence in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1200m) on May 13.
The Bjorn Baker-trained Written Tycoon gelding was last seen winning the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm on April 29 in his first run at the track since a failed Stradbroke Handicap bid last season.
The other best out of the Victory Stakes, Robert Heathcote’s runner-up Hopfgarten also features in the Kingsford-Smith Cup nominations.
Peter & Paul Snowden enjoyed an upset BTC Cup result in 2015 with $26 outsider Hot Snitzel and the team are back with four entries this year including The Galaxy winning Snitzel colt Russian Revolution.
Among the Snowden entries are also two mares – Tycoon Tara and Artistry – out to beat home the boys in the BTC Cup for first time since Black Caviar (2011) and the filly Sea Siren (2012).
Other standout mares in the mix include a stablemate of Music Magnate Egyptian Symbol, the Lindsay Park-trained Sheidel who won the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes Day and Secret Agenda.
Four-year-old Not A Single Doubt mare Secret Agenda is prepared by Melbourne’s Mick Price and was last seen winning Randwick’s Group 2 Sapphire Stakes (1200m) on April 8 ahead of her run this weekend in the Group 1 Australasian Oaks (2010m) in Adelaide.
Gai Waterhouse enjoyed a BTC Cup win back in 2007 with Bentley Biscuit and co-trains class Group 1 winning mare English for a possible shot this season, the four-year-old another Australasian Oaks hope who could be Brisbane-bound later this campaign.
Victoria’s best Darren Weir has a total of eight Kingsford-Smith Cup nominations including five-time Group 1 winner Black Heart Bart, Flying Spur stallion Mahuta and recent Newmarket Handicap runner-up Voodoo Lad.
Other standout out nominees including the Arrowfield 3YO Sprint winner Derryn, the John O’Shea-trained third placegetter out of the same Randwick lead-up Impending, Mick Bell’s autumn surprise package Jungle Edge and Fell Swoop.
Prepared by Canberra horseman Matthew Dale, Fell Swoop is tipped as one of the big names of the winter in the sunshine state as the five-year-old chases his maiden Group 1 success after a host of close calls.
His latest Group 1 loss was a third behind Chautauqua and English in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) and Dale is hoping for better luck in Queensland in the coming months with his $1.6 million earner.
The Doomben 10,000 is now the key lead-up race into the Kingsford-Smith Cup and both races attracted a similar line-up of nominations this week.
First acceptances for the Kingsford-Smith Cup close on May 17 followed by the final field and barriers on May 24, 2017.